When you move into your own home, you may feel that all your problems are behind you. You’ll feel safe and secure in the knowledge that as long as you keep making your home loan payments on time, everything will be alright. But will it? Despite the phrase safe as houses, money tied up in property isn’t entirely risk free. That’s why it’s important to look after your home, protecting both your physical security and your investment. Doing so can also lower your fuel bills, reduce your pollution footprint and help you to find a greener way of living.
The single most important part of your home that you need to pay attention to is the roof. That is the case even if you live in an apartment block, in which case you will usually have shared responsibility for the roof, and you may have a super with direct responsibility for checking it. Roofs should be inspected regularly to make sure that they’re watertight and any storm damage must be repaired. In fall and winter, gutters need to be cleared to prevent clogging, overflowing, and subsequent water damage. Even short-term neglect can lead to water running down inside the building, causing rot that leads to structural instability and is very expensive to repair.
Fix your floors
The floors in your home take a lot of strain over time, both from the weight of furniture and from the impact of feet, so it’s important to look after them. Damage caused by damp can lead floorboards to warp and rot, eventually needing repair or replacement. Fortunately, repairing your floor is easier than you might expect. Exposed un-sealed boards should be waxed twice a year to keep them in good condition. Make sure that any exposed boards in your kitchen or bathroom are properly sealed to keep out damp.
Walls and windows
Although they might seem solid, the walls of your home are constantly undergoing tiny shifts caused by heat, humidity and the weight they bear. That can cause cracks to appear, especially around the wainscoting and door and window frames. Filling these tiny gaps can make a big difference to the amount of energy you use, as well as helping to protect your home from damp. You should also check your windows to make sure they fit snugly in their frames, adding fresh sealant if necessary.
Building controls today are designed to restrict the use of dangerous materials in our homes, but many older buildings still retain historical hazards. Some of these are trivial to remove, such as lead paint, which can be peeled off and replaced (with children and pets kept out of the way while work is going on). Others, such as lead or polybutylene pipes, require a bit more skill, but you can find helpful free online tutorials to assist you in doing the job. Replacing old wiring is important to keeping your house fire safe, but you will need a professional electrician to do this safely.
Practice pest control
Keeping pests out of your home is vital to preserve its structural integrity over the long term. Mice, rats, and insects can create fire hazards by chewing wiring and can even eat away at wooden structural supports. They can also introduce disease risks. In severe cases you may need to bring in exterminators, however, you can significantly reduce the risk of infestations developing in the first place by ensuring that your food is stored securely and that you clean up any leftovers or spillages immediately.
Get yourself covered
No matter how careful you are, there’s always the risk of something happening out of the blue that causes serious damage to your home. That’s why it’s important to have adequate building insurance cover and to investigate the plans available for insuring domestic appliances and other features at the earliest opportunity. Good home warranty plans ensure that even if the worst happens you won’t suffer a large financial loss and a lot of inconvenience. Looking after your home – both materially and financially – helps to protect your investment and reduce risks to your family’s health.
Keep on top of these routine maintenance tasks to avoid problems arising. Such vigilance can also save money because you will spot potential problems before they develop into expensive ones to remedy. Keep your home in good condition so that you can relax, feel secure and not have to worry about unexpected costs arising.